Techniques in sequence to significantly reduce Anxiety and Depression
In this method, we essentially use a Occums Razor approach wherein in sequence we go through methods that can be used to increase release of dopamine and serotonin resulting in decrease of anxiety and depression symptoms
You might already be doing some of the things listed below, the ones you aren’t, you can give a thought whether it’s right for you and give it a try
I know that the reader is intelligent and requires an explanation for each step and I will be providing the same
The First phase is completely non-invasive and it is recommended you start step by step and eventually make a sincere effort to include all the steps
Several tests have conclusively determined that exercise leads to release of dopamine and serotonin. There are very natural reasons for this, all animals including humans are meant to do a significant amount of physical activity. It may be that when exercising, the body perceives it as an activity which benefits survival and reproduction and hence triggers a dopamine release.
It doesn’t need to be mental level difficult. You can find many easy bodyweight workouts on google which you can do for 25 minutes every day. Or, if possible start playing sports with your family or friends
The human body can run 22 miles at a stretch, it’s not designed to be dormant and immobile. You are an apex predator, if you don't live like one there is a great chance your body and mind will get depressed.
- Diet - anti acidic, fitness
I am not saying you need to adapt the diet of a bodybuilder or a crossfit athlete but making simple changes in your eating habits can significantly decrease the stress on your body as well as provide many of the nutrients required for a healthy release of serotonin and dopamine. So, these are the changes that I require from you:
A.) Completely remove sugar, you don’t need it. Additionally, it heats up the body and makes it lethargic and carcinogenic.
B.) Limit the spices and sauces: Same reason, decrease the carcinogenic and preserved foods. It's stressful for your body to digest
C.) Avoid Artificial Flavouring:
Artificial flavouring can often cause major unpleasant reactions in some cases, however that doesn’t mean it doesn’t cause minor reactions in others. Often at a conscious level we do not realize how it may be affecting us.
D.) Avoid Fried Foods
Problem with fried foods is that it requires a lot of oil to fry stuff and oil is again carcinogenic in nature and is stressful to digest.
E.) What to eat: Yogurt, nuts, vegetables (roasted, raw or boiled), brown rice, multigrain bread, cheese, meat or seafood cuts (smoked, boiled or roasted), herbs, seeds, coffee (no sugar), fruits (only in breakfast), beans, legumes, quinoa, flaxseeds, grains, pulses, grams, honey, kale.
You can google and find hundreds of recipes to make some delicious food using the base ingredients above. I don’t want you to starve or eat less but simply to ensure you are eating clean & healthy easy to digest foods.
- Multi-vitamins and fish oil
We often underestimate the vital part vitamins play in our day to day life. This I can attest to personally, I had a hard phase a few years back was extremely frustrated, I also had leg pain at the time so when I went to a doctor for the leg he told me to get a blood test done and my vitamin B was extremely low (less than 1). After an injection of vitamin B not only did my leg stop hurting but my frustration also went. Sometimes it’s that simple, if your body needs a vitamin and it is not getting it, there is no reason for it to release dopamine and serotonin which signal to the body 'everything is alright' because it’s not, there is a vitamin deficiency.
Multivitamins and fish oil tabs are pretty cheap and don't have side effects. While you think your upset because of your boss, friends or family it may actually just be a vitamin deficiency
Make sure you drink a lot of water, when you urinate your pee has to be Crystal white/transparent in colour, like the waters fresh off the glaciers in Antarctica.
- Ergonomics: sleeping, sitting
Lack of sleep or improper/interrupted sleep can cause a lot pf psychological stress and severely aggravate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Sleep is recovery for all animals and quality sleep can definitely help. Here are some tips to achieve the same:
A.) Orthopaedic pillow
Soft pillows are not necessarily the best plus they lose the structure and contour pretty quickly after which they won’t evenly balance your head. Switching to an orthopaedic head pillow definitely helps blood flow throughout the body more easily.
B.) Orthopaedic foot pillow
Having an orthopaedic foot pillow below your knees can definitely help your spine stretch out, relax and expand.
C.) Complete Darkness
As you all know, even when our eyes are closed they can feel light. Our body when it sees light largely perceives it to be a time to be active as we do not have night vision. Whenever there is light, the body sees it as an opportunity to be active and is unlikely it will send the chemicals required to put you to sleep. So, ensure you are in a completely dark room with not the slightest bit of light coming in. If this is not possible, you can always put on an eye mask for sleeping.
D.) Complete silence
One way to achieve this is by closing windows and all devices and stuff that make that electronic hummmm. Make sure you leave your phone on silent before sleeping, if complete silence is not possible normally you can use earplugs. An interesting experiment conducted: In military bunkers, if a Sargent called out 'John' when everyone was sleeping, only John would wake up. This implies that even though we are asleep we are still listening at a subconscious level.
Listening to music that is happy and upbeat in nature often makes a release of dopamine and serotonin. The logic behind this is 'contagious emotions'; if you notice in a comedy show, people laugh together. If you were to listen to a comedy show without laughter audio or alone, you wouldn’t laugh as much. Humans often weep, laugh, dance as a group. Exposure to happy and motivating music can create a possibility of the happy emotions of the maker of the music spreading to you.
- Social reach out / fine tuning
Go through your Whatsapp, Facebook friends and say hello to people. You may be thinking -meh why, they are meh- but for all you know since you last talked to them many things could have changed and there could be some really interesting conversations and opportunities waiting to happen
While most of us are too egoistic to admit it, loneliness affects us all. Loneliness causes sadness because we are a species that is very tribe dependant and social aloofness can cause disturbances in dopamine and serotonin release as the body perceives loneliness as physical insecurity.
- Exposure tuning (media)
What we watch, what we listen, who we talk to all play a huge part in our mood and thought patterns as well
I have noticed many people who suffer from anxiety watch a lot of news. Don’t. Stop. Especially with hateful stuff. So, what I recommend is watch TV shows or Movies that are funny and happy in nature. Don’t listen to music that makes you sad or triggers bad memories. Don’t talk to people who are upset, spreading negativity or sad emotions. Whether we like it or not we are influenced by what we are exposed to, if you watch a lot of fitness videos there’s a way higher chance you will exercise that’s how the mind works. That’s the directions that daydreams take work.
- Breathing exercises
Have you ever noticed when we are angry or worried how our breathing changes? James Lange theory has something very interesting to say about this, according to this theory our body language/posture/reflex acts like a catalyst for the state of mind to follow
So, in theory by breathing in a calm relaxed manner should result in a calm and relaxed state of mind. Make an effort not only when you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression but whenever you are aware to breathe in a deep long relaxed manner (through your diaphragm or navel)
- Hydratum/Digestive System Clean-up
It is extremely important to clean up your digestive system. If your bowels are not empty your body will be under stress, feel gassy and uncomfortable which creates the perfect environment for symptoms of anxiety and depression to get aggravated.
Try this: Make sure you drink a lot of water throughout the day. Every morning after waking up, massage your stomach while taking deep breaths. After this, do 2 minutes of jumping jacks and then again massage your stomach while taking deep breaths. After this, go hit the loo and stay there for an hour if you have to but make sure your bowels are as empty as possible before you start on with your day.
- Active skill involvement
Consider learning a new skill. Maybe pottery, maybe making dreamcatchers, whatever that seems fun to you. Very often we are just itching to do something and the extra energy that doesn't get spent up makes us restless, stresses us up. Also, in the process of learning, whenever you reach milestones your brain will release serotonin and dopamine
- Active Interest involvement
Let's assume you like photography, or maybe Metal or hip hop. Let's assume you like history, archaeology. Whatever you are interested in, get actively involved in the same. Say you like history join Facebook, Quora, Instagram groups and pages related to history, share your thoughts and opinions. Share your insights, if you like blues music go to blues concerts, get involved in the things that legit interest you. The simple logic behind this is that at one time only sound or thought can play in your head. Try this: you can’t sing in your head and have a thought going on at the same time. So, if you’re thinking about your interests its less likely that you will be thinking negative thoughts. Make an honest effort to create a positive thought pattern.
- Scent manipulation
Smell is a sense that we are not conscious of most of the time. Research and experiments have confirmed at a subconscious level smell plays a huge part in many aspects of our lives. From choosing a partner to the amount of purchases we make in malls. Similarly, certain scents such as burning plastic can trigger stress responses, we smell as a result of molecules interacting with our nose. So, when we smell something which is harmful it triggers stress. The inverse logic is that the smell of healthy herbs/flowers/grasses can trigger a sense of good environment and on that basis dopamine and serotonin release can be triggered. You can actively manipulate this sense by using aromatic oils. Try out different ones, see which you like and make sure you apply it as early in the day as possible
- Increased hygiene
A lack of hygiene makes puts more stress of your body as it constantly has to fight off bacteria and viruses and that naturally causes stress. I can guarantee you every human body even the cleanest one is always fighting with thousands of bacteria and healthy. The least you can do is ensure your nails are always cut and that you rigorously brush and shower twice a day. You will have more energy to do productive things as well since your body will have saved the energy it would have otherwise spent fighting the extra bacteria you get from a lack of hygiene.
- Comfy clothing
I understand that for professional reasons many people have to wear uniforms and or suit. Make it a point that the inners are soft and comfortable and properly sized. Not large not small, perfectly fitting. Make sure the fabric of your clothes is smooth and not rough on touch and that the sizing is again, not tight not loose. I know several people choose to wear sizes lower than their body size, which is so stupid I mean wearing 28 size jeans won’t make your waist 28 size. It will only squeeze the area and block blood flow to your legs and make you weaker.
My sincere hope is that the first phase did the trick and you have had no reason to start the second phase. The second phase involves methods which are mildly psychologically invasive and are not meant to be done simultaneously or to be included in your daily routine but rather you are expected to do 28-day courses to create psychological conditioning which can decrease anxiety and depression:
- A-Z test. Contemplate
You need a recorder for this, you have to say A to Z and associate a word with each alphabet instantly. Like A - Audio B - Bear C - Cream. Do it instantly make sure you don’t take time or pauses, this is a good way to understand the inclination of your subconscious mind and take some time to think deeply and contemplate.
- Before sleep, write how much hours spent where. Include daydreams
It's important to know where your time is spent daily. And after knowing where you spend how much time, ask yourself is this how you want to spend your time? What changes can you make?
- Ink blot test
The ink blot Test can reveal a lot about your subconscious and how you perceive things. After taking the test, think and contemplate on the answers, a little clarity often goes a long way in decreasing stress.
- Cognitive reframing (remember your good moments)
Do this, take a notebook and write down all your best moments in life. All your achievements, happy memories, all the moments when you aced it, when you made or did or said something awesome, start writing them and start recognizing the champ inside of you. It’s so easy to forget when we are in a bad space what our potential is, keep this note with you always so you never forget.
- Self-image / cosmetic mods
By changing the way you visualize yourself both internally and externally, you create a bit of distance with the emotions associated with the image. Get a haircut, shave differently, maybe a new wardrobe. Give your mind a new start
- Dairy writing/ trauma release
Many times we have a lot of thoughts, words and feelings inside of us we need to get out by expression. So, take a dairy, write letters to whomsoever you feel you relate, could even be someone not alive anymore and write down honestly all your feelings and thoughts till you feel you have expressed enough.
Visualize yourself achieving whatever your next goal or dream is. You can also have a photo depicting whatever it is you desire in your wallet. It could be a very fit body, a Mercedes Benz, a European vacation, something you have to work or aspire towards. The constant reminder definitely helps keep your focus in a helpful place
- Legacy output
In the world we live today, we are constantly exposed to the legacy people leave behind. From actors and musicians long gone to presidents and sportsmen of today. It is natural to worry about what you are leaving, how you will be remembered, will you be remembered? If this worries you, start creating this very moment. It could be written pieces, songs, paintings, organizations, sculptures, dance, it could be anything. Make somethings really special so you don't have to worry or be anxious about your place and longevity in existence. Aldous Huxley said that before global connectivity, a person's existence continued via his genes and after they continue via memes (note: not the same troll means post 2015, but a term coined by Aldous Huxley; this quote was written in 1976 and probably alluded to Memory and genes). So, Create :)
- Expression maneuvering
Make a sincere effort that whenever you talk to someone you are creating a pleasant happy atmosphere. Take charge of the emotions you emit and make sure you are a beacon of light to others around you, cheering them up and making their day. Doing good will help you feel better about yourself, give you better sleep.
- Forced/artificial physical and oral repeating
This technique is partly inspired by Sumo wrestling. Go check out a complete sumo match on Youtube. You will notice they pose for 5 minutes before they fight. Make a sincere effort to adopt a confident broad dominant posture. Developing such a posture will trick your mind into being more aggressive and less depressive/anxious. Also, every morning after waking up, repeat ten times loudly 'I am going to conquer this day'.
An experiment was conducted wherein an IQ test was conducted by researchers in a school. However, they told the teachers the students that got an average were geniuses and did not reveal their IQ score numbers. And after some time, those average students started improving their test scores significantly. It was repeated several times and the same results were observed. Taking a cue from this, make sure you are surrounding yourself with people who are expecting the best out of you and making sure you expect the best out of yourself. It works, its proven.
Note: no. 6, 8, 9 and 11 from above are the only second phase technique you can turn into a permanent inclusion in your life, for all other methods YOU SHOULD ONLY DO THEM FOR 28 DAYS, NO MORE.
Phase 3 is significantly invasive. Please remember, unless you are seriously suffering from depression or anxiety and only if all above techniques have failed to work should you consider going for phase 3
Some of the methods you will read ahead can be considered as controversial. The reason I am including them is not a matter of supporting those ideas but simply that I understand how impairing and debilitating depression and anxiety can be and I really don't want you to suffer, so if you feel it takes a few extreme or irrational steps and it’s worth it then here you are:
- Intense psychological wiring/spiritual videos -
There are several lectures by some amazing speakers available on Youtube. My recommendations:
Go through the above playlist, you will surely find some subject you resonate with and find clarity.
The reason I put this in phase 3 is because I really don’t want you to join any cults and stuff. Like please, have a brain when you dive in the spiritual pool, take everything with a pinch of salt.
- Kalachakra - detachment technique
Often the greatest cause of sadness is the pain over losing something or someone we love. It could be a promotion, a win, a person, a vehicle. It’s rare to get whatever or whomever we desire. Inability to move on can cause heavy symptoms of depression and anxiety to occur. Try out the Kalachakra technique, it will give you the ability to move on. Take a large piece of paper, take some sketchpens and paint something beautiful. Then burn it. After this, write a poem or a song or a speech, again burn it. Repeat this 150 times. Get used to impermanence. That’s a reality and facing it head on using the Kalachakra technique can help you embrace it and subsequently decrease your symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Pain Association with bad memory
This is milder variation of the shock therapy wherein you condition a negative response towards thoughts or memories which are causing you pain. Try this: whenever you start having the train of thoughts that cause you pain, pinch yourself as hard as you can. You need to do this hundreds of times to trick your brain into dumping the memory altogether from your active consciousness
- Mind trip × go to hell ×
Fear of an outcome is usually far more than the outcome itself. We fear for a lot of things: professional, social and personal domains all come with their fears. Try this: Whatever the worst you fear that can happen, imagine it. Go through it, you will notice ultimately things still carry on. And there is still light at the end of the end of the tunnel and an eventual silver lining somewhere. When one story ends another begins, whatever you fear can end, imagine it ending. Whatever your worst fear, imagine living through it, stare those fears in the eye and accept them so they stop wrecking havoc on your mind
- Hyper venting of frustrations ×scream×
Find a completely lonely place and scream out whatever the hell is it you want to scream, whatever your angry about, sad about, let it out yelling. We never get the chance to do anything of that because of the consequences and hurt such an action might cause to others so do it alone so while your frustrations are expressed no one is saddened by it. You can even try this. If you have any old furniture or boxes or any junk you don’t need, take it to an isolated place, take a bat or a sledgehammer and break stuff up till you have let it all out.
- Sexual Introspection
This method is largely inspired by the theories of Sigmund Freud. Honestly look into your sexual tendencies. What turns you on, who turns you on, what are your fantasies like? And why? Are they healthy? If not, make an honest effort to visualize sexual fantasies which: a.) Include you b.) Are healthy
- Shamanic Tendon-cies
This may sound extreme but consider going to an ayahuasca retreat for 2 weeks. It’s not expensive, ayahuasca shamanic centres are open in Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Argentina and shamans have thousands of years of continued lineage in healing psychological disorders
- Visiting a counsellor (8 sessions)
Counsellors as a result of their education are trained to recognize mental disorders and are familiar with the treatments required. However, some counsellors also see their patients as a source of income which is why I recommend that you ensure it’s no more than 8 therapy sessions
- Psychedelic Treatment
While it may sound very hippie to suggest, LSD or Shrooms or MDMA can help with your depression, there is a lot of credible research done in this regard. Please check out this organization: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. Please don’t get me wrong I am not telling you to become a coke or heroin addict, amphetamines and alcohol are not included in Psychedelic Treatment. I am saying once a month try out a psychotropic substance, make sure you try it in a safe and happy environment. An interesting fact: a single dose of LSD can permanently cure cluster headaches. Psychedelics have been used for thousands of years to provide psychological therapy. Note: if it’s illegal where you live, don’t do it ;)
- Hyper disassociation
An easy way to disassociate anxiety and depression is by disassociating everything about you. The clothes you wear, the music you listen to, the channels you subscribe on Youtube, the friends you follow on Facebook/Insta, the type of shows you watch, your perfume, your bag, your shoes, the people you talk to, the places you eat at, the food you eat, your haircut, etc. Change everything within 3 days time of starting this method. This will create a shock release/removal of a lot of emotions associated with the element you disassociate with
- Natural medication
Try taking natural substances like lotus or cannabis, note: I am assuming you completed all the steps before this. My reasoning is a little dependency on weed is better than a lifetime of sadness and the mistakes that are often made when a person is in the wrong state of mind. So give it a go: Try lotus (nelumbo nucifera) if marijuana is too much. You could even consider trying out CBD.
- Vipasanna moanwrath
The conversations we have in our mind can drive us insane, what you should have said, could have said all the noise its mad and I believe it consumes at least 25% of all human energy. For just two weeks, take a vacation and don’t communicate with anybody (other than say groceries or something) the brain can get really tired of all the conversations and interactions and sometimes a little distance helps us see the bigger picture. So, for 2 weeks say nothing, talk to no one.
- Pharmaceutical medication
If nothing else works there is nothing wrong in going to a psychiatrist and see if they think it's a correct option for you to be on pharma medication. They will assess your condition and prescribe accordingly
- Religion x higher purpose x
Well if nothing else works, dedicate your life to serving a higher purpose. It could be the environment, wildlife, a religion or religions you relate to, a cause close to your heart. Make your life about contribution.
- Desperate drive for success
Just work all the time, if you have free time after your job then do some freelancing work or artistic work, every waking moment focus on doing something that can make you bigger. Put yourself in a position where you can no longer afford to be in a depressed position
The Secret Insight
- ) Know this: You are a human, an apex predator. Look at what humans have accomplished, you are the species that has travelled to Mars and Titan. You are the species that has created Jimi Hendrix and it has created Albert Einstein and Usain Bolt and a million more shinning lights. The limits are endless for the things you can be in this world. Never forget that you have flexible thumbs, a bipedal body and a powerful brain you are not a prey your blood is that of those that conquered this earth and the more firmly you believe that, the more your DNA will activate the genes of your hunter ancestors.
- ) Have faith and love
This world is so beautiful and time is a magician. even if you could live a thousand years you couldn’t meet all the wonderful people, listen to all the lovely music, eat all the delicious things. We all have the luxury of living in a world that has enough beauty to keep you occupied for thousands of years. It’s up to you what you want to see in this world. Have the courage to love madly. Not necessarily another person but anything you are passionate about. Have faith that in time life will be great and things will change for the better. Even after the darkest and longest of nights the dawn must come. Change is the only constant. You will change. Everything around you will change. And if you have faith you will have the eyes to see the opportunities that will ensure with each change you are in the best possible position.